Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

The First Day of School

Well…today is the first day of school in Stow! It wasn’t as hard this year to watch the girls get on the bus as it was last year when my “baby” went to Kindergarten. This year, after 4 weeks of relatively unscheduled summer fun (the first 6 weeks were pretty full of scheduled fun!), we were all looking forward to getting back into a routine.

We have lots of first-day-of-school traditions, including the yearly picture next to the piano (handy for seeing how tall they’re growing through the years!). But my favorite first-day-of-school tradition is one I hope my kids appreciate when they’re older. After I dropped Emily off at 4-year-old preschool for the first time, I went home (tearfully) and wrote her a letter. I recorded my feelings about taking her to school, my hopes for her for the year, and some school-related milestones she had already reached. Each year since, I’ve written a similar letter. Then I go back and read all the letters from previous years as a great reminder of how far she’s come and how much she’s grown! When Meg started school, I started the same tradition for her.

Sometime before Emily tuned one year old, someone suggested writing her a yearly birthday letter. I thought that was a great idea, but I never got around to doing it. After she turned 4 and I still hadn’t gotten around to it, I decided I could start a tradition of writing a letter on the first day of school instead!

I haven’t decided when I will give them the letters. I’ve done them all on the computer except Meg’s 4-year-old preschool letter (which I believe is somewhere in the school memorabilia box). I originally planned to re-write them by hand and compile them in an album to give them, maybe at High School graduation? But now, I can foresee using a personal handwriting font and creating a digital album to give them.

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Comments on: "The First Day of School" (1)

  1. Still lacking a child, I find many of my paternal leanings directed toward my horse, Oscar. I make a point of telling him every time we ride what we’re going to be doing that day. I tell him on a regular basis how much better he’s gotten at doing the things on which we focus our mutual energies. I also tell Oscar what he’s taught me and how he’s helped make me a better person.

    Now, my own spiritual beliefs are such that I can readily conceive of a possible moment in life or perhaps sometime later in which Oscar and I might understand one another more fully. As I contemplate such an eventuality, I hope that he understands- as I think he increasingly does- what I’m saying to him. I hope that someday he might convey the simple message “I understand.”

    With your children perhaps it would be best to share those written moments of frozen time in pieces as you think they might understand at least some of what is truly being said. I wouldn’t worry about a full understanding; unlike with Oscar and I, that will almost certainly come with time between yourself and your daughters.

    Part of the joy of coming of age lives in the cycle of wisdom. There are many moments in our lives during which we grow from the knowledge of our own foolishness into a new level of wisdom. Ironically, perhaps blessedly, this new wisdom gives us both the depth and the strength to see more foolishness in ourselves. Then, of course, the cycle repeats…

    There are two gifts you give your daughters through those letters. First, you allow them to understand their mother in stages as they grow and reread that which you have written. Second, you express to them a direct humbleness by granting them a glimpse into your mind at a time when you were not as great as you will be when they are the age that you were when the letters were written.

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